Even as South Africa is experiencing its most dramatic Internet usage growth ever, it is falling behind other countries in Africa.
From being the front-runner in terms of technology, South Africa now boasts only the fourth biggest Internet-connected population on the continent, and ranks a sorry tenth in terms of Intermet penetration.
Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, says countries like Mauritius, Morocco and Egypt are all racing ahead of South Africa in the Internet stakes.
"We imagine we are the leaders in Africa, but we aren't," he says. "Mauritius and Morocco are currently the leading lights when it comes to telecommunications policy."
He says the countries that are leading in Internet access are those whose governments encourage competition rather than trying to control it.
"in South Africa, competition either hasn't been allowed or hasn't been effectively stimulated. Government has got to open the doors to competition," Goldstuck says.
He concedes that the recently-appointed Minister of Communications, Siphiwe Nyanda, has made encouraging moves in terms of initiating a broadband framework for South Africa, but warns that more than good intentions are needed.
"The intention is not enough. We need a real broadband framwork that doesn't just promise broadband but enables competition and accountability.
"Fibre to the home should be seen as the end goal of any broadband framework, but this is still seen as a luxury for the elite."
Goldstuck says South Africa will reach a 20% Internet penetration by 2012, but this is still far short of the 60% that developed countries have.
"This has got to be South Africa's vision. We've got to think of ourselves as a developed country. If 20% penetration is seen as a triumph, it will be a pyrrhic victory."